Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones recently sought treatment for bipolar II disorder, a mental illness characterized by long periods of depression alternating with episodes of mania, and now she was wants to speak out and try to help people suffering from the same condition.
The 41 year-old actress was always by her husband, actor Michael Douglas’ side while he was battling cancer and that pressure made it impossible for Catherine to function without some professional help.
“This is a disorder that affects millions of people and I am one of them,” the actress tells PEOPLE in an exclusive statement in this week’s cover story. “If my revelation of having bipolar II has encouraged one person to seek help, then it is worth it. There is no need to suffer silently and there is no shame in seeking help.”
Catherine checked herself in to Silver Hill Hospital to get treatment before she began filming the romantic comedy “Playing The Field”. The actress wanted to be ready for a new challenge and to be able to continue raising her two children, 10 year-old Dylan and 8 year-old Carys.
“The simple things would just seem overwhelming, like going out to dinner,” says the close friend. “There was just a little piece of her chipped away. It was hard to watch because I knew how hard she was trying.”
Catherine was very brave to reveal her struggle with the disease because, hopefully, people will also feel that it’s OK to admit they are not fine and seek help as soon as possible.
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